Several establishment media giants have asked a court to unseal all of the documents related to the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home last week.
The move came after the Justice Department filed its own request for some of the materials to be released, CNN reported.
Lawyers representing major media outlets like CNN, The Washington Post and NBC News appeared on Thursday before Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the warrant for the Mar-a-Lago raid, according to The Epoch Times.
Reinhart said he was “inclined” to release some of the affidavit from the raid and instructed the DOJ to redact any parts of the document that would undermine its investigation, The Washington Post reported. The judge said he would make a decision after the department submits its proposed redactions next Thursday.
Trump himself has said that he wants the affidavit unsealed.
“In the interest of TRANSPARENCY, I call for the immediate release of the completely Unredacted Affidavit pertaining to this horrible and shocking BREAK-IN,” Trump posted on Truth Social on Tuesday.
The news outlets cited “the public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred in these circumstances” in their filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
The DOJ itself set things in motion last week when Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the department’s request for documents to be released. Garland said the DOJ wants the search warrant and property receipt from the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago.
However, unlike the media companies, which asked for all the documents to be unsealed, the DOJ did not seek the release of the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant.
In fact, federal prosecutors investigating Trump asked a judge on Monday not to release the affidavit for national security reasons, The Hill reported.
“There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed,” a filing from the prosecutors reads.
But the media companies argued in their request that “the tremendous public interest in these records in particular outweighs any purported interest in keeping them secret.”
For once, these outlets may be correct.
Though they wave the flag of “public interest” in requesting the unsealing of the documents, make no mistake — the media would simply make more money and be able to drag this story out longer if all the documents were revealed.
But though the media’s motivation may be selfish, it actually would benefit the American people to have access to the documents.
The raid is a very public issue, and since it concerns a former president, the citizenry should (at least in principle) have the information, particularly surrounding what led to the search warrant.
Some have suggested that federal prosecutors’ attempt to keep the affidavit sealed is actually just an attempt to cover up some sort of corruption in the process of the search.
The media outlets are even being reasonable in their request for the documents. If national security is at risk, the government has the right to redact parts of the documents. But that doesn’t mean they should be sealed altogether.
“Even when the government can demonstrate compelling interests, the court must examine ‘whether there are alternative means available’ to address them, such as redaction of a document rather than sealing it in its entirety,” the filing reads.
It doesn’t make sense any longer to keep all the documents sealed. The details of the raid, how it was conducted, the nature of the documents searched for and more have already been made very public. Trying to hide anything else at this point smells of corruption.
The media outlets are right. It’s time to unseal the documents.
“Transparency serves the public interest in understanding and accepting the results. That’s good for the government and for the court,” Charles Tobin, a lawyer representing the outlets, said in court on Thursday, according to The Washington Post.
“You can’t trust what you cannot see.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.